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Nov 2, 2006 05:14 PM

Nice (but not too expensive) dinner in the OC?

My best friend just got engaged and I would like to take he and his new fiancee to dinner this weekend in the OC. I'm looking to spend $200-300 total for a dinner for 4 (Me, my wife, my buddy and his fiancee). Any recs in the OC? Any kind of food will do, but no chain restaurants please.


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  1. For a celebration of this type, you should check out the Montage hotel/resort in Laguna Beach. It will be in the price range you're looking at, and the views at sunset are just phenomenal! The service is excellent, which you would expect from a place of this caliber.

    I think it beats the Ritz Carlton (just down the street) in terms of the dining experience.

    Montage Resort and Spa Laguna Beach
    30801 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
    (949) 715-6000

    1. Well beleive it or not there are a plethora of dining options in "the OC" [funny, I never really hear OC residents call it THE OC]. So perhaps a location or georgraphic direction [i.e., South OC, near Disneyland, etc.] or even a category of the kind of food you are interested in [i.e., ethnic, ecclectic, fusion, etc.] would help us boil it down. But right off the top of my head I would think that for $50-75 PP Chat Noir would certainly fit the bill. Or perhaps Zov's Bistro for a unique mediterranean/armenian/eurpoean menu. Both are in Tustin, have comfortable dining spots, good service and receive high marks on their food. For Japanese, I'd recommend Honda Ya, also in Tustin [jeez, anyone seeing a pattern, here?]. If you want to go more coastal, there is Onotria and possibly Mastros steakhouse in Costa Mesa [might be a stretch on your budget]. Park Avenue in Stanton is a fun experience. If you are in South County there is Gemmels in Dana Point. I'm certainly missing dozens, but if you could be more specific, I think we could point you in the right direction.

      6 Replies
      1. re: SouthOCHound

        Well, to be more specific, I guess the city of Orange, Tustin, and on through Irvine would be good locations. As for type of food, I'm thinking along the lines of Italian, French, or just a plain 'ol steakhouse - something safe that everyone will like.

        Also, this may sound strange for the occasion, but we are all also going to see Borat after dinner, so maybe a restaurant near a movie theatre would be good, but not a must.

        So far, Chat Noir looks pretty good. But more suggestions are welcome.

        1. re: martymitz

          There is a Houstons in the Marketplace on Jamboree and Michelson. Very safe and reasonably priced. A plus is that it is right next to an Edwards Cinema. The same market place has a good, upscale mexican restuarant (Taleo Mexican Grill). Both restaurants have no corkage fee (if that matters to you).

          1. re: MEalcentric

            I heard that that Edwards closed.

            Borat is playing at Fashion Island, which would make Fleming's a possibility, although it goes against your "no chain" request and I'm not sure if it fits in your price range. The Bungalow would be a non-chain alternative that is nearby, in Corona del Mar. (Although I'm not sure about the price factor on that one, either. I've never been to either one.)

        2. re: SouthOCHound

          Chat Noir is in Costa Mesa not Tustin; unless they've moved.

          1. re: Philly

            AH yes, i stand corrected. i was thinking of French 75, owned by the same group, i beleive.

            1. re: SouthOCHound

              Yes, French 75 is owned by the same group and is in the Tustin Marketplace, where Martin Yang's SensAsian restaurant used to be.

              The place looks great, and would also fit the price range indicated. Great steaks!

        3. Is Mr. Stox still around? I always liked that place. Also, La Vie en Rose in Brea was pretty solid for French.

          1. Bungalow is great for celebrations - ask for a booth. Edwards Fashion Island is right across the street. We've partied it up for 4 & stayed under $300.

            1 Reply
            1. re: torta basilica

              Bungalow is on PCH, near MacArthur Blvd, in Corona del Mar; not across the street from Edwards Fashion Island. The room downstairs or the patio would be great for the occasion.